Last time we visited Yellowstone, it was a total drive-by. We literally squeezed it in to our trip to Jackson in one long, grueling day of driving.
This time we had a whole week here, and we made the most of it, not that there is anything wrong with the drive-by. But this time we had the time not only to pose for the pictures on the roadside overlooks but to really explore, get away from the crowds a little and take advantage of the trails.
Many of the hikes are well maintained and well-travelled, but they still give you a much better sense of the serenity and awesomeness of this place than just the major camera stops, which is all so many people do.
Trent discovered this 4 mile hike to Natural Bridge and it was a great way to get to our 15,000 step goal on the first day that we actually slept in (8am). Side note: We are exceeding 15,000 steps most days! One of our priorities was “Body” (aka get your butt off the couch and get healthy), so this is awesome! We both thank no we lost a few pounds in this week at Yellowstone, although I forced myself to leave the scale behind. I almost didn’t…but Trent’s good sense won out.
The next day we got up early and did the unbelievably long (but so worth it) driving tour of both the north and the south loops. Since we had already seen the south loop, we only stopped for wildlife sightings until we reached the north loop, which probably took 3 hours.
Our last day in Yellowstone was quite possibly the most memorable. We lugged out our inflatable kayak and spent half a day paddling around Lake Yellowstone. Specifically, at the Ranger’s recommendation, the West Thumb Geyser basin.
Yellowstone is home to two-thirds of the worlds geysers and we got to see them up close on our kayak while others were relegated to the tourist walkways. One kind lady did offer to take a picture of us, so Trent passed her the phone on the tip of the paddle.
As we approached the geysers, apparent by the bubbles dotting the surface and visible all the way at the bottom of the greenish water, the water temperature changed from killer cold (literally, hypothermia in 20 minutes) to pleasant warm bath water. I was grateful because Trent was determined to take a dip and I wasn’t ready to be a widow or worse freeze to death myself when he tipped the kayak trying to get back in. We both survived.
All in all it’s been a totally different experience in Yellowstone this time. For the better. We saw so much more and explored to deeper levels than last time. I feel blessed to have this opportunity to see and experience so much and grateful to have access to such astonishing natural wonders.
Now onward to Glacier National Park in Montana! A whole new experience for both of us!